Rebuilding Falcons turn it on to extend winning streak
GUELPH – Good news for the opponents of the Centre Wellington Falcons in the District 10 high school girls’ hockey league.
The defending provincial AAA girls’ champions are in a rebuilding season of sorts.
Bad news – they’re still strong.
“We’re rebuilding a bit,” Centre Wellington coach Merv Bauman said Wednesday after the Falcons downed the Lourdes Crusaders 9-2 in league play at Exhibition arena. “We have for sure nine new skaters. There are girls who I was hoping would come back as we were only supposed to lose two or three, but some of the girls play for teams that don’t want them to play high school hockey so we ended up losing quite a few.”
Last season the Falcons skated undefeated through league play on their way to the OFSAA provincial honours. Of course they’re hoping for the same this season, but everything would have to fall in place again.
“It’ll really depend on how they develop and how they play together as a team,” Bauman said. “Last year, yeah we had a good team, but it was also that the chemistry was so strong. They had a lot of fun together and they played well together every time they were on the ice. This year, it’ll depend on how all that comes together for positioning and passing and all that stuff.”
Centre Wellington won all 10 of their regular-season games last season and haven’t suffered a setback in D10 league play since a 4-1 loss to the Ross Royals Dec. 18, 2017. They’ve won 15 consecutive regular-season games since then.
The Falcons put a fairly young squad on the ice Wednesday as they were missing four of their returnees due to work and personal commitments. That might have led to a slow start for Centre Wellington.
“The newer kids, the nervousness of being here playing and not having the veterans here to calm them down, that made us a little jumpy in the first,” Bauman said.
That and the unexpected quickness of the Crusaders that led to a few breakaways and odd-player rushes.
“I was impressed with their speed,” Bauman said. “I think that’s what kind of threw our girls off, too, in the first period was getting used to that.”
The Falcons and Crusaders were tied 1-1 after the first period and Centre Wellington led 2-1 midway through the second before discovery their scoring touch that propelled them to a 6-1 lead by the end of the second.
Sydney Healy led the Falcons with a four-goal outing while Kara Denhoed scored twice and Morgan Robinson, Natalie Beilhartz and Bailey Sabila added single goals.
Abby Robinson scored both goals for Lourdes.
The game was the season opener for the Crusaders while the Falcons have won both of their games.
League play resumes Thursday with the Centennial Spartans and Ross Royals both beginning their campaigns at the Victoria Road arena at 2 p.m. The St. James Lions and Guelph CVI Green Gaels are to battle at Exhibition arena at 3 p.m. Both dropped their season openers.
- Guelph Sports Journal